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  • katiecahill

The Gift of Travel – did it ever sound sweeter than right now?

Updated: May 1

“Goodbye and good riddance 2020!” In early 2021, this was a resounding statement uniting many people and industries all around the world but particularly those in the tourism and hospitality industries. ‘Staggering collapse’ and ‘devastating’ were terms used to describe the state of the tourism industry in one particular article published in the New York Times (one of many written in the same vein).

Hope for a better 2021 came with warnings of worse things to come. Optimists around the world would have been wise to heed the advice as worse things did indeed come. International borders remained firmly shut, state borders followed suit, hopeful travel bubbles burst, lock downs were reinstated – Melbourne was crowned ‘the world’s most locked down city’, hospitality outlets ceased trading for months (many closed their doors for good), the Delta variant with its highly transmissible agents put added stress on hospitals and healthcare workers and the coronavirus global death count climbed to such a numbing figure (and sadly is still climbing), the count was declared to be more than both world wars and the Vietnam war combined.

However, now as 2021 draws to a close, the resilient and ever optimistic tourism industry is hoping for the best by putting the hardships of the past two years and these sombre thoughts aside.

Instead the industry is looking forward to a brighter future, planning and encouraging travel and leading the charge is Tourism Australia with the launch of their latest campaign, Give the Gift of Travel. With no time like the present, with Christmas approaching, the greatest gifts the tourism industry can receive right now are bookings, lots, and lots of bookings.

In the words of Tourism Australia’s Managing Director Phillipa Harrison, “The Gift of Travel is about encouraging Australians to give more meaningful gifts this holiday season and in doing so give back to tourism operators and communities who have been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Now with inspiration provided by Tourism Australia’s campaign and the best gift shop in the world (Australia) open, Aussies can get their Christmas shopping done with ease by buying a travel voucher for a hotel stay, an outdoor adventure, an indoor tour, or a dining experience somewhere special. While the industry is eager to resume operations as quickly as possible, consumer confidence is still challenged due to the uncertainty around state borders, so most operators are providing vouchers with extended expiration dates so there’s plenty of time for redemption. Many companies also have the added benefit of ‘book with confidence’ policies which provides flexibility and freedom to update or cancel reservations with ease.

So, before the world says, “Goodbye and good riddance to 2021”, there is one last opportunity to squeeze some positivity and hope into an industry that has yet again experienced another devastating year. Data provided by Tourism Australia found the last year, Australians spent, on average, $770 on gifts during the holiday season equating to $16 billion in total. A fraction of that spent on travel vouchers/experiences would deliver a multi-million-dollar boost to the tourism industry. Here’s to giving this year one last boost – Merry Christmas!

Check these great offers out for some gift voucher inspiration:

Skydive Australia - Take your gift giving to new heights this year with a voucher for a 15,000ft tandem skydive with Skydive Australia. With 17 locations across Australia and New Zealand there's sure to be a Drop Zone near loved ones and vouchers are valid for three years so you're giving the gift of adrenalin rush without the rush - plenty of time to redeem this gift!

Trees Adventure - A Treetops Adventure is the perfect gift for the kids or as a group present for the whole family to enjoy together. After months of lockdown what better gift than to reconnect among the treetops away from screens and the four walls of the house. Treetops Adventure offers something for every level of participant, starting from the age of three and ranging up through all ages and skills to the most capable climbers, who will enjoy the challenge of the two most difficult courses which are about 15-meters above the ground

The Maria Island Walk - A Wombat Wonderland Christmas Gift - Give the gift of a luxury four-day hike that includes overnighting in secluded wilderness camps and a heritage-listed cottage with wild wombats around every turn. There's also that gift of fresh clean air and some of the most picturesque scenery in Australia

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